The charm of Charleston: Renovated historical home inspired by Southern style

Maysville Road is an artery that flows the traffic through the heart of Mt. Sterling. But at 309 N. Maysville St.— right off that main stretch — you could never tell. The house was once an old, L-shaped structure built around 1875 that homeowners Mac and Connie McCormick intended to […]

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Maysville Road is an artery that flows the traffic through the heart of Mt. Sterling. But at 309 N. Maysville St.— right off that main stretch — you could never tell.

The house was once an old, L-shaped structure built around 1875 that homeowners Mac and Connie McCormick intended to fix up and resell when they purchased it in 1993. They also attained the lot next door to build their own Charleston-style row house. But after the two visited the historical South Carolina city on a vacation, they would certainly use inspiration from the architecture found in Charleston on their next project: They decided to keep the old house and give it a complete redesign.

At the time, Mac was a partner in the McCormick Lumber Company and was well-versed in building and designing, so he drew up the plans and began the restoration. He poured concrete and constructed massive columns for the new double decker porch and used modern materials for easy upkeep.

“In Charleston, all the houses have such ornate porches, but they take so much maintenance,” Mac said. “On this chippendale railing, it’s all PVC, so it won’t ever rot.”

Through the front door to the left is the dining room, which has the original ceiling, exquisite crown molding, and a large medallion centered above the large harvest table, handcrafted by Mac. Floor-to-ceiling windows let natural light pour in — and all the windows in the home are shaded by plantation shutters.

The center hall leads around the main staircase to a bedroom with an adjoining bathroom on the first floor, which the McCormicks transformed from an office just this year.

The house’s entire back space was added during the renovation period. The large living room, painted peach with a beachy feel, is where the two spend lots of their time. The cozy area features a gas fireplace, a unique walnut inlay along the floors, and a wet bar.

“In the South, you’ve got to have a wet bar,” Mac said.

The eat-in kitchen is bright and warm, opening up to an added antique staircase. A stained-glass window over the sink, the primitive glass in the cabinets, and the wall moldings replicated from the originals are a few ways the McCormicks mixed the old and the new. The kitchen is one of Connie’s favorite spaces.

“She cooks so much and entertains so much, and there’s room for people to talk and sit. She loves to cook, and I love to eat,” Mac said. “So the whole house is open, and it flows. We’ve had 75 people here before for a wedding.”

“We’ve had something for each niece and nephew and child (in the family), and we’ve hosted political functions and family dinners,” Connie said.

The most well-loved spot, though (for themselves and their visitors), is the 16-by-40 screened-in back porch. Rocking chairs, a porch swing, tables and loungers are situated for guests to relax, feel the breeze, and look out into the beautifully landscaped yard. They joined it with the next-door lot, making it a 1.7-acre yard, and covered it with 185 boxwoods, raised beds, a potting shed, and a large chicken coop, and the porch is enclosed by trees.

“That’s what we love most about it. It feels like you’re in the country, but you’re in town,” Connie said. “We have wrens and all kinds of birds. It’s just wonderful.”

“We just use (the porch) so much. By 11 or 12, it’s already shady, and you don’t have to worry about the hot sun,” Mac added.

The carriage house-like garage has a full woodworking shop behind period doors as well as a 650-square-foot apartment on the second floor, which is stocked with a full kitchen, bath, and family room/bedroom.

“You can rent it out or it would make a great mother-in-law apartment,” Connie said.

Although they’ve enjoyed sharing their home with family and friends, they treasure what they did there — just the two of them — with their vision.

“We were together on the design,” Mac said.

“We have wonderful memories here,” Connie said.

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